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Vora N.M.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Li Y.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Geleishvili M.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Emerson G.L.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | And 15 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2015

During 2013, cutaneous lesions developed in two men in the country of Georgia after they were exposed to ill cows. The men had never received vaccination against smallpox. Tests of lesion material with the use of a quantitative real-time polymerase-chain-reaction assay for non-variola virus orthopoxviruses were positive, and DNA sequence analysis implicated a novel orthopoxvirus species. During the ensuing epidemiologic investigation, no additional human cases were identified. However, serologic evidence of exposure to an orthopoxvirus was detected in cows in the patients' herd and in captured rodents and shrews. A third case of human infection that occurred in 2010 was diagnosed retrospectively during testing of archived specimens that were originally submitted for tests to detect anthrax. Orthopoxvirus infection should be considered in persons in whom cutaneous lesions develop after contact with animals. Copyright © 2015 Massachusetts Medical Society.

Mamisashvili E.,Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture | Kracalik I.T.,University of Florida | Onashvili T.,Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture | Kerdzevadze L.,Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture | And 13 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2013

Brucellosis is the one of most common livestock zoonoses in Georgia, resulting in significant economic losses. Livestock were sampled in three regions of Georgia (Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Imereti). Districts that historically reported high numbers of brucellosis related morbidity were selected for serological, bacteriological and molecular surveys. Surveying efforts yielded samples from 10,819 large and small ruminants. In total, 735 serological tests were positive on Rose Bengal and 33 bacterial isolates were recovered and identified as Brucella melitensis or Brucella abortus by microbiology and AMOS-PCR. A Bayesian framework was implemented to estimate the true prevalence of the disease given an imperfect diagnostic test. Regional posterior median true prevalence estimates ranged from 2.7% (95% CI: 1.4, 7.2) in Kvemo Kartli, 0.8% (95% CI: 0.0, 3.6) in Kakheti, to an estimate of 0.6% (95% CI: 0.0, 2.9) in Imereti. Accurate and efficient surveillance of brucellosis is not only of economic value, but also informs efforts to reduce the disease impact on the human population. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Lewis N.S.,University of Cambridge | Javakhishvili Z.,Ilia State University | Russell C.A.,University of Cambridge | Russell C.A.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | And 11 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The Caucasus, at the border of Europe and Asia, is important for migration and over-wintering of wild waterbirds. Three flyways, the Central Asian, East Africa-West Asia, and Mediterranean/Black Sea flyways, converge in the Caucasus region. Thus, the Caucasus region might act as a migratory bridge for influenza virus transmission when birds aggregate in high concentrations in the post-breeding, migrating and overwintering periods. Since August 2009, we have established a surveillance network for influenza viruses in wild birds, using five sample areas geographically spread throughout suitable habitats in both eastern and western Georgia. We took paired tracheal and cloacal swabs and fresh feces samples. We collected 8343 swabs from 76 species belonging to 17 families in 11 orders of birds, of which 84 were real-time RT-PCR positive for avian influenza virus (AIV). No highly pathogenic AIV (HPAIV) H5 or H7 viruses were detected. The overall AIV prevalence was 1.6%. We observed peak prevalence in large gulls during the autumn migration (5.3-9.8%), but peak prevalence in Black-headed Gulls in spring (4.2-13%). In ducks, we observed increased AIV prevalence during the autumn post-moult aggregations and migration stop-over period (6.3%) but at lower levels to those observed in other more northerly post-moult areas in Eurasia. We observed another prevalence peak in the overwintering period (0.14-5.9%). Serological and virological monitoring of a breeding colony of Armenian Gulls showed that adult birds were seropositive on arrival at the breeding colony, but juveniles remained serologically and virologically negative for AIV throughout their time on the breeding grounds, in contrast to gull AIV data from other geographic regions. We show that close phylogenetic relatives of viruses isolated in Georgia are sourced from a wide geographic area throughout Western and Central Eurasia, and from areas that are represented by multiple different flyways, likely linking different host sub-populations. © 2013 Lewis et al.

Jiang J.,Naval Medical Research Center | You B.J.,Naval Medical Research Center | Liu E.,Naval Medical Research Center | Apte A.,Naval Medical Research Center | And 17 more authors.
Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases | Year: 2012

A previous surveillance study of human pathogens within ticks collected in the country of Georgia showed a relatively high infection rate for Rickettsia raoultii, R. slovaca, and R. aeschlimannii. These 3 spotted fever group rickettsiae are human pathogens: R. raoultii and R. slovaca cause tick-borne lymphadenopathy (TIBOLA), and R. aeschlimannii causes an infection characterized by fever and maculopapular rash. Three quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays, Rraoul, Rslov, and Raesch were developed and optimized to detect R. raoultii, R. slovaca, and R. aeschlimannii, respectively, by targeting fragments of the outer membrane protein B gene (ompB) using species-specific molecular beacon or TaqMan probes. The 3 qPCR assays showed 100% specificity when tested against a rickettsiae DNA panel (n= 20) and a bacteria DNA panel (n= 12). The limit of detection was found to be at least 3 copies per reaction for all assays. Validation of the assays using previously investigated tick nucleic acid preparations, which included Rickettsia-free tick samples, tick samples that contain R. raoultii, R. slovaca, R. aeschlimannii, and other Rickettsia spp., gave 100% sensitivity for all 3 qPCR assays. In addition, a total of 65 tick nucleic acid preparations (representing 259 individual ticks) collected from the country of Georgia and the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2009 was tested using the 3 qPCR assays. R. raoultii, R. slovaca, and R. aeschlimannii were not detected in any ticks (n= 31) from the Republic of Azerbaijan, but in the ticks from the country of Georgia (n= 228) the minimal infection rate for R. raoultii and R. slovaca in Dermacentor marginatus was 10% and 4%, respectively, and for R. aeschlimannii in Haemaphysalis sulcata and Hyalomma spp. it was 1.9% and 20%, respectively. © 2012.

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